Thursday, September 1, 2011

About All Those Margarets

Oh, for the discernment to know which Margaret Tully is the one referred to in each specific instance! This Tully line starts with Irish immigrants Denis and Margaret Flannery Tully, arriving in Ontario, Canada, from Ireland sometime before 1850. This couple names one of their daughters Margaret—becoming the first of the Margaret Tullys that I find incomprehensible…or at least unfindable.

Denis and Margaret have three sons—Patrick, John and William—who each proceed to name one daughter Margaret.

Margaret Tully score at this point: five.

That is not to infer that the elder Margaret didn’t have other namesakes among her descendants. Denis and Margaret’s daughter Johanna, marrying a Ryan, names one of her daughters Margaret. Johanna’s sons James and Dennis follow suit and each name a daughter Margaret, too. And elder Denis and Margaret’s son Patrick’s daughter Margaret names her only child Margaret. Patrick’s brother John—the one in our direct family line—has one son who bestows Margaret as a middle name to his only daughter.

Think that’s enough Margarets to brew a storm of confusion?

And now, we tread tentatively into the research for today’s featured photograph….

Margaret Tully Dempsey
Our subject is listed simply as “Coz Maggie Dempsey.” Maggie, of course, is nickname for Margaret. I’m fortunate to already know that Maggie is the nickname used for the mother in this family rather than the daughter, who is also baptized Margaret. Her nickname, thankfully, deviates from the norm to help alleviate mix-ups: she is usually called Rita.

So I can presume it is safe to proceed with some information on this particular Margaret.

The Margaret in this picture was born in the Canadian village of Paris, in Brant County, Ontario. Her year of birth is alternately presented as 1866 or 1868, depending on which census record you choose to believe. She emigrated from there in either 1868 or 1878, although I’ve even seen a transcription showing the date as 1888, which also happens to be the year of her marriage, in Chicago, to Michael Dempsey. (My personal favorite is 1868, for reasons I won’t delve into here.)

Margaret was the eldest child of Patrick and Mary Tully. (Mary, her mother, due to transcription issues, can be said to have sported the maiden name of either Hogan or Horan—yet another wrinkle in keeping things straight in this family line.) Four children were to follow her birth—three brothers and a sister—though I’ve had a dickens of a time trying to find out much more on these younger siblings, other than to note that they all made the move from Ontario to Chicago with Margaret and their parents.

Margaret’s intended, Michael Edward Dempsey, was actually an orphan from St. Louis. I’m not sure what brought him to Chicago, but through the years, he and two of his siblings (Hattie and Anna) crossed paths—or perhaps followed each other—as they moved from state to state.

Margaret and Michael were married at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in South Chicago by Pastor Martin van de Laam on October 3, 1888. A couple years later, Michael’s sister Anna was married in the same parish, to James A. Davidson, an immigrant of Scottish descent who had settled recently in Joliet, Illinois.

Shortly thereafter, both couples move to Cincinnati, Ohio, where James and Anna become proud parents of daughter Adeline in February, 1893. Margaret gives birth to her own daughter in August of 1894, whom the Dempseys name (no surprise here) Margaret, or Rita for short.

Somewhere in between Adeline’s birth and Rita’s birth, the family story is overshadowed by sadness. Eight month old Adeline suddenly loses her mother, and for reasons I’ve yet to uncover, her father seems to disappear from the picture. Michael and Margaret, whether unofficially or legally, choose to adopt baby Adeline as their own, and the family unit from that time until their deaths remains intact with these four.

Along the way, briefly, they are joined by Michael’s sister Hattie until her death in 1900 in Ohio at the relatively young age of forty. Though the family moves from Ohio to California and back to Illinois, Michael and Maggie show up in census records with their two daughters—both remaining single for life, both serving as registered nurses in private duty. Though Rita passes away, not quite 47, in 1941, Adeline—the one whose mother and aunt both passed at relatively young ages—lives on to see her century mark.

For all I’ve been able to determine about Maggie from her family’s public records, there is little to nothing that I know about her private life. Though she predeceased her husband in March, 1933, I’ve yet to find even any obituary in the Chicago newspapers for her. This photograph, at least, provides a glimpse, however brief, into the life of this one Margaret Tully.

1 comment:

  1. My eyes get crossed after 3 margarets... sorry... I do feel your pain... really!


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